National champion Alabama will once again try to keep rolling after losing three underclassmen to the NFL Draft.
All-Americans Trent Richardson, Dont’a Hightower and Dre Kirkpatrick said Thursday that they are leaving school to start pro careers, three days after helping the Crimson Tide to its second national title of their careers.
• Louisiana State University All-American cornerback Morris Claiborne and defensive tackle Michael Brockers have decided to leave school early to enter the NFL Draft, along with junior receiver Russell Shepard.
GEORGIA: Safety and leading tackler Shawn Williams said he will return for his senior season.
Williams said the juniors planning to return include outside linebacker Cornelius Washington, a former Burke County standout, and cornerback Branden Smith.
PENN STATE: Joe Paterno’s son, Scott, said it’s becoming apparent that his father’s ouster as head coach by school trustees “was not handled well.”
Scott Paterno’s comments were in response to a trustees’ statement that Paterno was immediately removed and not allowed to retire after the season because of “extraordinary circumstances.”
• Buffalo Bills receivers coach Stan Hixon is returning to college to become the lead assistant under Bill O’Brien, the new Penn State coach.
FLORIDA: Running back Jeff Demps is giving up his football career to focus on track and the 2012 Olympics. Demps wants to vie for a spot on the U.S. track and field team.
TENNESSEE: Coach Derek Dooley has hired Sam Pittman to coach the Volunteers’ offensive line. Pittman has spent the past five seasons as the offensive line coach at North Carolina.